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  • Writer's pictureJaime Pollard-Smith

Perky Pollard

Hey! Enneagram 7 here. The enthusiastic visionary. I’m supposed to be uplifting, a light bringer, an eternal optimist. Jazz Hands Jaime. Perky Pollard. It’s who I am— until I’m not.

While watching the NCAA tournament with my son, I have been subjected to commercials. I only vaguely remember them in the age of Netflix, but one caught my attention. There is a Buick ad called the Quadruple Threat: March Madness. It features a woman driving a car full of passengers each representing a part of her psyche or role that she plays. There is a fun one, a sensitive one, a practical one and so on. We all have these voices in our head, some louder or kinder than others. One of the many voices living rent-free in my head likes to scare me with worst case scenarios. Bless her heart, she thinks she is protecting me. As I have been working through grief and deep loss for the past several years, she is quick to remind me that I better snap back to my jazzy, cheerleader self ASAP. “Nobody wants a Debbie Downer. Perk up and move on.”

This fear can feel very real. If I am not “back to my normal self” my time will run out. If I cannot play my usual role, there will be no room or need for me to stick around. As I spoke with my therapist about this last week, she said, “You undervalue your authenticity. It is your genuine nature that people want to be near, not a certain mood.” Wow, she’s good. On more than one occasion I have contemplated breaking up with her so we could be friends in real life.

Cut to a Zoom tea party with my colleagues. Yep, we meet for virtual tea parties complete with fancy hats. I love us. One of these friends is self-proclaimed equal parts dramatic Italian and fiery Irish. She said, “If you showed up happy all the time, it wouldn’t be real, and you are REAL. It’s what we love.” Again, the Universe intervened reminding me to just show up, no jazz hands needed.

The truth is, I have been living small. Assuming my value was linked to one of those personalities riding in that car shut down and hid parts of my true self. The other girls are now stepping up and deciding they are equally worthy. There is Jaime who cares and feels deeply for injustice all around us and the state of this planet. There is Jaime who is filled with child-like wonder and awe, always seeking adventure. There is Jaime who is committed to her career and her art. There is Jaime who is shouldering the greatest pain of her life. The vehicle of my mind is quite crowded actually— more like a clown car.

The commercial ends with the woman praising all of her different selves for a great parking job.

A male character comments, “You really outdid yourself.”

She proudly responds, “Yes, we did.”

Poet Ross Gay said, “I don’t have a voice, it’s more like a choir.” Mine sounds like an indie grunge band at the moment, but it’s the real me. My message...our message is in the mess.

*Pictured: Perky Pollard circa 1995. Go tigers!

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